Peter Frampton never asked Shuggie Otis and Brian Eno to mess with Frampton Comes Alive, but supremely zealous rap-metal flagbearers Linkin Park essentially do just that with Reanimation. The new album sells itself as remixes of songs from this era’s most incomprehensible mega-seller, but it’s more than that. It rips apart the Pro Tools-loving, hip-hop-cred-seeking Linkins’ Hybrid Theory and invites edgy producers and rappers to build new houses out of the cards.
Here, the hits can no longer stand as hits. Kutmaster Kurt (of Kool Keith fame) bastardizes the echoing technopop of “In the End” (renamed “Enth E Nd.”—beware of other weird spellings), sliding the tension between rapper Mike Shinoda and singer Chester Bennington and making mechanical, staccato hip-hop out of it. He banishes a quieted Bennington to the hook, leaving the verses to Shinoda and Motion Man. “One Step Closer,” another smash, turns into pure mud at the hands of Canada’s Humble Brothers, who add an eerie coda with Korn’s Jonathan Davis belching the original’s bridge—”Shut up!!”
Other songs benefit from a complete makeover, especially “Points of Authority” (now “Pts.of.Athrty”). Orgy’s Jay Gordon chops the buffalo-butt riff, installs booming drums, and adds a spooky keyboard loop for melody. Result: an industrial-pop powerhouse. Elsewhere, Dilated Peoples’ Evidence transforms “High Voltage,” a vocoderized tribute to Japanimation that predates Hybrid Theory, into a Dilated Peoples song—amazing texture and energy, stupid lyrics about nothing. Pharaohe Monch, shamefully, follows suit.
These improvements, which also find Linkin Park’s own Joseph Hahn outdoing the Dust Brothers’ old production of “With You,” raise an obvious question—why didn’t they travel this far out of the box initially? Apparently, Linkin Park asked the same thing endlessly in recording Reanimation, making them maybe the most interesting of mediocre bands.